For those unfamiliar with seasonal affective disorder, a brief overview of the condition found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders expresses that it is a type of depression that has many of the same characteristics of ‘normal’ depression, such as loss of appetite, sadness, and lack of energy. How it differs is that, as the name suggests, it is seasonal in when it occurs. This is typically found during the winter months, particularly in late fall. In essence, it is a person being adversely affected by the changing of light patterns given the time of year. Because this is an issue that follows those suffering from it anywhere, finding out how to handle seasonal affective disorder when traveling is extremely important.
Though an inexact science, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is thought to manipulate an individual’s circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm has a direct correlation to a person’s sleep habits, which in turn often alters their temperament. Put simply, when there is less light in the winter months, it ‘tricks’ the brain into thinking there is less time to sleep. This is because the amount of melatonin and seratonin are reduced due to the lack of light. Seasonal affective disorder and light therapy together can solve this problem. This solution is found in the use of SAD lamps.
What Are SAD Lamps?
SAD lamps are a form of light therapy designed to reverse the effects of the disorder by shining light at times your brain would normally think are necessary. An instance of this would be early evening that is far darker in the fall than it is during Spring or Summer. Typically sad lamps have adjustable settings to be able to change the amount of light you are receiving. This is important in calibrating it to your lifestyle, or in this case, traveling. Figuring out how to use a SAD lamp can seem intimidating, but is in actuality very straight-forward.
Why Are SAD Lamps Ideal For Travel?
The benefits of a portable SAD lamp are many because they give users the freedom to address their condition anywhere. In addition to the ailment itself, travel will change your circadian rhythm from time change and jet lag. SAD lamps serve as a bridge for you to get back on ‘schedule;’ something that is hugely important to anyone suffering from this type of depression. Because your demeanor and well being are a result of how refreshed you feel, a SAD lamps’ presence is crucial in that it can give you the amount of light therapy necessary for you to feel normal. Portable SAD lamps make for a swift and easy solution if you are on the go for vacation, business, or otherwise. SAD lamps are also wise in handling this condition during travel because almost every unit is relatively small in size and easy to transport.
What Are The Best SAD Lamps To Handle Your Disorder On The Road?
Obviously every case is going to come down to how you personally react to light, but in seeking the best SAD lamp for you, there are a few things to keep in mind. Cost can fluctuate, going anywhere from around $60 to over $200. Usually you can keep the price manageable in the $100 range for travel, as most of the higher end are standing lamps, which are impractical for a trip. Options will also set apart the best SAD lamps from the ineffective ones. Some of these include, light adjustment, desk mounts, and weight.
How Do You Put SAD Lamps To Use When Traveling?
Unless you need a lamp due to excessive jet lag and a totally flipped schedule, most commonly you can handle seasonal affective disorder by using your devices as you would wake up and go to bed in the summer months, or times you are not bothered by this depression. For example, if typically you are used to it still being light out when working in the early evening, adjust your lamp so that the proper amount is emitted at a time it is getting darker due to the winter months. You can also mount your lamps on hotel room desks or windows to simulate light when you are in a place you are unfamiliar with. The most important way to get a handle on your disorder when not at home is to maintain consistency. Use your lamp at the same times every day to give your brain a chance to relax and follow a pattern that will help you sleep and improve your mood.
Seasonal affective disorder is a concerning, but not impossible condition to overcome. Adding travel to this disorder can give anyone anxiety, but you can fill in the gap with the proper usage of a lamp. Like a pill helps a headache go away by calibrating your brain levels, the same is true of light levels to produce positive melatonin output.